“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte
Although Jane Eyre contains a lot of harsh criticisms of the treatment and roles of women in society, it demonstrates that women can live their lives equally with men. One example is Jane realizes that she should be treated just as equally as Rochester. “”It is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal, – as we are!”” (252). Jane is stating what she believes. Women should be treated as equally. Jane Eyre meets Helen Burns soon after she received at Lowood. Helen was the only person to be consistently nice to Jane. The first night Helen provided Jane with food which made Jane realize how kind Helen was. They became best friends. Friendship is an important element in this novel. Helen teaches Jane how to love, care, and look after others and encourages her to think beyond this life to god. Unfortunately, Helen died of consumption in Helens arms. They had a really good relationship. Helen would be considered the ideal nineteenth century woman if she was not an intelligent, young woman. One important motif is Jane needing a motherly figure. Miss Temple takes on this role at one point. Jane meets Miss Temple at Lowood. Miss Temple helps and comforts Jane in a motherly way. Miss Temple is one of the positive female role model to Jane. She is always kind to Jane and helps discover the truth that Jane is not a liar. Miss Temple is very crucial to Jane’s development because she cares about her and encourage her to apply herself to education. Diana and Mary Rivers are gentle, compassionate, and educated women who liked Jane immediately and took her in when she did not have a home. Ultimately, Jane’s relationship with these women are they are very nurturing, compassionate, and positive role models for her.
Charlotte Brontë, the author, recounts her childhood experience in Jane Eyre. She uses the adult figures in Jane’s life and the experiences at the Lowood institution to demonstrate children in the nineteenth century. This book introduced a passionate, angry, and defiant child, but made the audience support her instead of the tyrannical adults. Mrs. Reed viewed children as being obedient and want to please their mother. Thinking Lowood was a good school, Mrs. Reed sends Jane there. It ends up being an extremely harsh institute. For example, when Jane breaks her slate in class, Mr. Brocklehurst makes her stand up on a stool in front of everyone and said, ‘””…this girl, this girl, the native of a Christian land, worse than many a little heathen who says its prayers to Brahma and kneels before Juggernaut-this girl is-a liar!'”” (40). He repeatedly called her a liar and told her what a horrible child she was. This is cruel and unusual punishment. Whenever they did anything wrong, they were physically and emotionally abused. In this book, it is believed that children needs a strong education and upbringing with little to no regard for a child’s perception of the world or that children were born in original sin and that their souls need to be cleansed of that sin, usually using cruel measures. Children are very vulnerable who are at the mercy of adults and society demands children are forced into adulthood much to early.
The novel shows many examples of people misusing their wealth and privilege. John Reed squanders his fortune, Blanche lives a very selfish and idle life, Mr. Brocklehurst denies basic comforts to the girls at Lowood while allowing his daughters to dress in the latest fashion, and Jane criticises Rochester for spending too much money on jewelry and clothes in preparation for their wedding. Life in nineteenth century Britain was governed by social class and people typically stay in the social class that they were born into. “”You ought to be aware, Miss, that you are under obligations to Mrs. Reed: she keeps you: if she were to turn you off, you would have to go to the poor-house”” (14). Jane’s early life is a constant reminder that she is poor and alone. Her cousins and aunt believe that she will never not be lower- class because she will not inherit any money. At Thornfield and Gateshead, Jane holds a position that is between social classes and interacts with people at every level. The characters who are have a lot of money are hypocritically and morally misguided, but impoverished characters who demonstrate great moral values are also mocked. At first, Jane was intimidated by Rochester because of how much wealthier he was. Jane Eyre implies that poverty can be respectable as long as one as the desire to always better themselves. Charlotte Brontë criticises the ones who misuse their money by making them amoral and bad things happened to them at the end for the most part.
Jane Eyre can be seen as a pilgrimage story. A pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual influence. Throughout the novel, Jane is on a physical and emotional journey. Literally, Jane moves from place to place. Metaphorically, Jane grows towards the person she wishes to become and finds the man she loves and wishes to marry. Along the way, she encounters problems. Some examples of these struggles are John Reed, the psychological terror of the Red Room, privations at Lowood, and the danger of starvation and death when she runs away from Thornfield. Jane makes decisions about who to be her role models. Furthermore, the love story element of this novel models a fairy tale. There are recurring plots of rags to riches, good versus evil, and the “”happily ever after”” ending. Jane goes from a poor orphan to being married to a rich person. Some characters in the books are amoral, such as Mr. Brocklehurst, and some are good, such as Miss Temple. Finally, in the end, Jane and Rochester get married and live happily ever after. “”Reader, I married him”” (457).